Author • Criminologist • Professor • Patriarch

Other Books by Jim O’Kane

The Crooked Ladder: Gangsters, Ethnicity, and the American Dream

The Crooked Ladder book cover

Ethnic organized crime is a phenomenon that has been largely ignored by social scientists and histrorians, and dismissed as a subject not to be taken too seriously by those researching the mobility patterns of their own ethnic ancestors or current minority newcomers. The Crooked Ladder represents a groundbreaking attempt to describe how some members of ethnic minorities have utilized organized crime as one vehicle of upward mobility, advancing from lower-class status to middle-class power and respectability.

O’Kane illustrates the criminal road to prosperity as a process of displacement and succession: each group competes with and eventually eliminates its more established predecessor from the upper echelons of organized crime. This historical criminal succession mirrors the upward mobility of the Irish, Jews, and Italians in the larger, conventional non-criminal realm. Arguing that African Americans, Asians, and Hispanics are pursuing similar criminal routes, O’Kane takes issue with contemporary social scientists who view the current plight of minorities as unique in American social life.

As a fundamental rethinking of the American ethnic experience with crime, The Crooked Ladder is essential reading for social historians, sociologists, and criminologists. It is useful in criminology courses as well as classes in ethnicity and social relations.

Available from, Barnes & Noble, and Transaction Publishers.

Wicked Deeds: Murder in America

The Crooked Ladder book cover

In Wicked Deeds, James O’Kane shows that homicide is rather predictable and patterned with respect to its assailants and victims, the circumstances in which it takes place, the time and location where it occurs, and the motives which precipitate the murderous act. Engagingly written and solidly grounded in evidence, this is a definitive study of murder in the United States. Wicked Deeds analyzes numerous categories of murder: intimate partner homicide, child and family murders, and multiple victim killings, including mass murder and serial homicide. Each type of murder is illustrated by accounts of actual murders reported in the media and on internet sites. Approximately 200 cases illustrate the typical homicides as well as the bizarre ones. In portraying the patterns and regularities of murder in the United States, Wicked Deeds is an essential treatment of a subject too often given over to sensationalism.

Available from, Barnes & Noble, and Transaction Publishers.

Pamplona: A Sociological Analysis of Migration and Urban Adaptation Patterns

Pamplona examines the adjustment of rural migrants from various regions in Spain to the rapidly developing city of Pamplona in the north of Spain in the early 1970s. Utilizing Spanish census data and in-depth interview survey information, the results demonstrate that the inmigrants adjust very well to life in this industrial urban environment. On a variety of economic, social, and psychological measures, these new arrivals have higher rates of adjustment and well being than the native Pamplonicans. James M. O’Kane concludes that, contrary to popular impressions, migration does result in greater rates of upward mobility for those leaving rural locations and that these migrants enrich the areas to which they relocate.

Out of print, but copies may be available through

© Copyright 2013-2014 James M. O’Kane
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